Fight or Kite: Battle Crush is a snack-sized take on the mythological battle royale scene


Imagine taking a bit of the theme from SMITE (really the only good part about SMITE in my estimation), the common battle royale grab-and-go looting and ring of death you expect from Fortnite, the fun and cute animations and perspective of a MOBA like League of Legends, and then smash it into a match that lasts just five or ten minutes. That is Battle Crush, and it’s a mash-up of all these worlds without lingering too long on the palate.

If you’ve been interested since it was announced late last year, then I have good news! This week brings the early access launch of the newest game out of NCsoft in the form of Battle Crush. Happily, I got to see it personally thanks to an early press preview last week. While it’s perhaps not the most evocative or descriptive name for a game that’s ever crossed our path, it is rather well made, and the short, snappy battles can be pretty exciting.

So if it’s a mash-up of all those greatest hits in PvP gameplay, does Battle Crush rise to the top or fade into the minutia? Well, it certainly is a battle royale of all time.

Greek mythological heroes (and more!) but with a cool spin

At a high level, Battle Crush is a MOBA-esque battle royale with a heavily Ancient Greek mythological vibe. There’s a number of the classics like Medusa, Hades, Hermes, and even Poseidon. I really like the hero design too; the team didn’t let standard lore (or art history) about what these characters look like determine exactly how they are portrayed in Battle Crush.

Poseidon, for instance, is the Greek god of the seas, but here, Poseidon is a super cute, super feisty girl with awesome character art and design. She’s dual-wielding tridents, and it’s fantastic and ridiculous. And of course they also have a cyclops, named simply Lops, which I also kind of love. It’s just a really smart character design and reinterpretation of mythology.

Moreover, despite the game’s fairly dull and generic name, it calls its heroes Calixers. When I searched for the origins of this word, the only results that came up on the first page were all related to Battle Crush, so I guess they nailed the SEO by coming up with their own word. Maybe it’s a mash-up of Callisto aka Calyx and elixir? I thought surely this was some ancient Greek term or something for warriors, but seemingly no. It’s just what you call Battle Crush heroes.

Now, while the taste at the front is Greek, there’s a bit more depth to the Calixer profile. NCsoft has also included a few heroes from outside the realm to show it isn’t so hyper-focused on going down the Greek mythology path only. We also have a handful of Arthurian heroes as well. So if you’re a fan of King Arthur or Lancelot, then you’ve also got a hero in store. No Green Knights yet, though.

One more hero to mention that is very cute but left me gobsmacked is Dandi the dino. Yeah, you can play a baseball-bat-wielding dinosaur. Wild. Readers might remember from our past reporting that NCsoft still has its own baseball team in real life, the NC Dinos. Clearly, that’s the hilarious inspiration.

The game itself is battle royale through and through

Basically everything you know and love, generally enjoy, or put up with about battle royales is present in the gameplay loop of Battle Crush.

As in most BRs, you choose a spot on the overview of the map to spawn in. Then, once the timer ends, you’ll get about 10 seconds to see where everyone else in the match is spawning as well, so you have a brief moment to see whether you and too many other players chose the same spot and you’re about to have a huge free-for-all right off the bat. In that short window, you can click another spot to try to move a bit closer to your allies or away from enemies, but rather than just porting you to the spot you clicked, the game seems to make your hero look as if he’s running in that direction, but you’re watching the minimap. It’s a neat element.

Then the game begins, and you need to roam around and find loot to gear up and defeat your fellow competitors. The matches are designed to be quite quick, which is something I personally prefer. There isn’t a whole lot of time spent out in the open all alone. In many BRs, you might spawn out in the boonies alone and not see very many other players at all. That’s not really the case here. It’s not that the map feels particularly small, either. It just moves on without too much downtime.

I also enjoyed that allies can resurrect you if they grab your soul stone and take it to a rez shrine. That’s a big bonus that a lot of these BRs totally miss out on. Often in these games, I’ll die and just immediately leave and queue up again. Here, there’s actually a reason to stay and root for your team – it’s much more like a MOBA here.

Combat involves more skilled play than I expected

Now, despite the game being available on PC through Steam, it’s also on mobile in the App Store and Play Store and even on Switch. And right away you can tell this really is more of a mobile title than a real PC-first experience. The menus and icons are all sized to be touch-friendly. It’s not that it didn’t play well on PC; in fact, I thought it played very smoothly. Odds are good you’ll even have an advantage playing on PC over mobile. Despite all the advancements in mobile gaming, nothing really beats a keyboard and mouse.

So, since this is a mobile-friendly game, you know there can’t be too many actions to take during combat in order to suit mobile players, and that’s largely the case. You have a light and heavy attack, a block or dodge depending on the hero, an ultimate, and up to three consumables. For some reason, the consumables stood out to me too; they definitely change how you’ll play in each map. Some of them give you a short teleport, while others are boons or heals. Once you’ve played enough to understand your favorite hero, I can see it’d be smart to find the consumables that pair the best too.

Despite all that, there really is a skill floor and ceiling in the game. Heroes also have a stamina bar, which prevents you from simply button-mashing to victory. Being pretty garbo at these kinds of games, I found that stamina was quite the Achilles heel for me. When I engaged another player who appeared to know what he was doing, I’d get KO’d pretty quick.

Overall, I’d still rate the game pretty favorably for the type of game it obviously is. I think might even enjoy it on mobile too. While it certainly contains all the elements of the games I mentioned at the top, it reminds me a lot of Brawl Stars, which I took a look at by popular demand earlier this summer. It’s definitely meatier than Brawl Stars, but the cuteness of the character design and the quickness of matches have me mentally assigning it to that same sort of category.

I’d say if you’d like to have the full battle royale experience in a lighter, smaller, MOBA-influenced format, but you don’t want something as quick and condensed as Brawl Stars, then Battle Crush is worth a look. It falls right between the big titans like SMITE and Fortnite and the tiny grab-and-go experience you get from Brawl Stars.

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
Previous articleCorepunk preps for an early July alpha test with some massive changes
Next articleGreg Street’s Ghost dev studio talks prototypes and progress from a recent ‘innovation week’ session

No posts to display

Subscribe to:
oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments